Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Who you callin' stupid?

I hate it when advertisers think their target audience is stupid.  What's worse is when the target audience really IS stupid.  Take car commercials for instance.  The little weasel-word disclaimers that the attorneys insist on now appear in every car commercial where the car is moving, EVEN if the car shown is just driving sedately down a normal city street.
Professional driver on a closed course
Yeah.  Whatever, dude.  You know that the only reason they have to put that in there is that some cretin, who buys shoes with Velcro 'cause laces are too complex, will get behind the wheel and act naturally and then blame the automaker for his own stupidity.

Anyway, the commercial that's been getting under my skin lately is a radio spot for Accountemps.  Normally, their spots focus on the reliability and expertise of their temps by using a fictional temp named "Bob".  I'm sure you've heard the ads.  And I think the ads with Bob are effective.  I know they consistently make me smile.  I'll even wait to channel surf when the commercial break starts if it's a Bob spot. 

But the ads they're running this week are focusing on their cost effectiveness.

Cost effectiveness?  Say what?

There are a lot of reasons companies use temps, but in MY experience saving money is not the deciding factor.  More often than not, TIME is the driving factor.  We need X job completed by Y date and we can't get it done with our existing staff.  That's when you start talking temps.  Price is only a factor in deciding WHICH temps to use.

The new Accountemps ad starts out by saying that many companies are not hiring but making more demands on their existing staff, so when that new project comes along and the budget won't cover hiring more people, Accountemps is a cost-effective solution.

Right, and I'm really George W. Bush.

Here's a clue.  It's ALWAYS cheaper to hire a new employee.  I've seen companies pay the equivalent of two or three ANNUAL salaries to bring in ONE temp for three months.  The reason companies DON'T hire employees and use temp agencies is that a) it takes too long to find and screen candidates - usually by the time you're talking temps, you needed them yesterday and b) there is nothing for the person to do once the job they were used on is done - and there are all sorts of legal risks that go along with firing/laying off employees - not to mention the effect on morale.  Saving money is NOT a reason to hire temps.  (And yes, I know to factor in the cost of benefits when comparing costs)

I've even seen companies INTENTIONALLY pay more for a temp rather than hire an employee (when an employee was justified) because a) "there's a hiring freeze" - a move that always SOUNDS good, but in practice is the business-world equivalent of self-mutilation and b) "there's no more budget for salaries, but we still have budget for temps" - so to enforce an arbitrary line-item discipline, we'll sacrifice the bottom line?  And this makes sense how exactly?

Anyway, I'd have to be (more) stupid to buy the Accountemps latest spiel.  And I find it especially idiotic that they would use this spin since, after all,  their services are targeted at ACCOUNTING folks who (should) know better. 

(Now, MARKETING guys might fall for the cost-effective line...)

  • |